Chandigarh, July 30: Rejecting outright any move to change the present status of Panjab University, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has written to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, saying his government was open to increasing the Grant-in-Aid for the University, through a mutually consultative process.
In the D.O. letter written to Rajnath, the Chief Minister asserted that the Haryana government could not take advantage of the ongoing proceedings in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The transitory Financial Resources problem and its resolution by the statutory stakeholders do not permit the Government of Haryana to turn back the clock, he wrote.
The proposal of the Haryana Government for restoration of its share in the University is "historically, logically, rationally and culturally unsustainable,” said the Chief Minister, adding that "the State of Haryana cannot arrogate to itself the privilege of altering history as and when it wishes.”
The Chief Minister pointed out as per Sub-section (4) of Section 72 of the Punjab Reorganization Act, 1966, the maintenance deficit grants to the university were shared and paid by the States concerned, i.e., Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh UT administration in the ratio of 20:20:20:40, respectively.
"The states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh decided to withdraw from this sharing arrangement. The Government of Haryana also withdrew the affiliation of its colleges from the Panjab University and transferred the same to the other Universities within Haryana State. These decisions of the Haryana Govt. were unilateral and unconditional. Thus from 1976 onwards the State of Punjab and Chandigarh UT administration paid the maintenance deficit grants to the University in the ratio of 40:60, respectively. Thereafter, the Government of India vide its notification dated October 27, 1997 ceased the representation of Haryana in various governing bodies of the Panjab University,” he further said in the letter.
Elaborating further, Captain Amarinder Singh said notably, the University has been managing and conducting its financial affairs unilaterally. "The State Government has increased the Grant-in-Aid from Rs. 20 crores to Rs. 27 crores during the current financial year, which amounts to an increase of 35%. This substantial increase may not be commensurate with the needs of the Panjab University, but this is due to the reason that there is no bilateral consultative process in place through which the University's financial management is affected,” he added.
The need of the hour, said the Chief Minister, was to create a financial balance through a consultative process, vis-a-vis the university and the Punjab Government, so that a concrete plan or vision document for reasonable period, say 10 years, may be charted out collectively.
"Notwithstanding the alleged change in the character and composition of Chandigarh City into a 'Tri-City', as claimed by Haryana, the unalterable fact is that the 'Tri-City' was always in existence even when the state of Haryana decided to de-affiliate its colleges from this university and severed its all linkages with the university. There has been no change in the character of the Tri-City since that time. The Haryana government withdrew from the arrangements existing at that time on its own will and unilaterally, and it cannot be allowed to reverse its stand arbitrarily now. The argument of Tri - City is unplausible and is an afterthought," asserted Captain Amarinder Singh. "In view of the aforementioned circumstances, the Punjab government is of the firm view that no change in the nature and character of this university should be considered,” he added.
Captain Amarinder Singh said historically, the people of Punjab have been very intimately associated and have identified themselves with this university right from its inception. The Panjab University occupies an emotional place in the minds of Punjabis on account of historical, regional and cultural reasons. Right from the beginning it has emerged as an educational and cultural symbol of Punjab’s legacy and inheritance to an extent that it has almost become synonymous with the state of Punjab, he said.
The Chief Minister observed, after independence, the Panjab University was re-commenced with an Act of the Punjab State namely the Panjab University Act 1947, and subsequently, with the reorganization of the State of Punjab in 1966, it was declared as an Inter-State Body Corporate under Section 72 (1) of the Punjab Reorganization Act, 1966, enacted by the Parliament.
Since its inception, the Panjab University has been continuously and uninterruptedly functioning in the State of Punjab. It was shifted from Lahore, the then capital of Punjab, to Hoshiarpur and then to Chandigarh, the capital of Punjab. As many as 175 colleges of Punjab, which are situated in the districts of Fazilka, Ferozepur, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana, Moga, Sri Muktsar Sahib and S.B.S Nagar, are affiliated with the Panjab University. Thus the entire territorial jurisdiction and the populace, which the Panjab University is catering to, falls primarily, in the Punjab State, in addition to the area under Union Territory of Chandigarh, the DO letter further stated.
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